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Details of the beating of political prisoner Anatol Latushko became known

Anatol Latushko
Anatol Latushko

They put a bag on his head, there were at least 50 blows: details of the beating of political prisoner Anatol Latushko became known

On September 20th Central District Judge of Minsk Dmitri Karsiuk found political prisoner Anatoli Latushko, cousin of the politician Pavel Latushko, to 6 years in jail and a fine of about $ 3800, Elena Malinovskaya — to 4 years in jail and Lilia Ananyan — to 5 years of "home arrest". In total, they were found guilty under five articles of the Criminal Code for distributing leaflets before the referendum, participating in the March, drawing "Pogoń" and burning the flag. After Latushko was detained, he was known to have been beaten. During the trial, which was held openly, details of the use of physical force against him in Central police department were made public — human rights center "Viasna" publishes them.

Anatol Latushko
Anatol Latushko

Earlier, it was known that Anatoliy was beaten after he was detained. During the trial the details were voiced, as the political prisoner wrote an appeal for an inspection of the bodily injuries and appointment of a forensic medical examination, as well as filed a petition for additional interrogation, in which he stated that the testimony from 31 January to 2 February "does not correspond to reality, as given with the use of physical and psychological pressure, when entering the detention center the injuries were recorded".

On 11 February, the Interior Ministry reported that a "group of radicals" had been detained in Minsk. The agency’s press service also published a video, which, among other things, contains an interrogation of detainee Latushko with a blurred face, where he talks about drawing "Pahonia" on mailboxes in the entrances, scattering flyers, removing, and burning a red-green flag from a shop as a protest, and says that he repents of what he has done. However, it is not known exactly when the video was recorded.

From the case materials we know that Latushko was injured by police officers in the building of the Central District Police Department on 31 January 2022 — immediately after his detention.

On 3 February the senior commissioner of the Central Administration of Internal Affairs Medvedski was interrogated about this and stated that neither he nor the officers had used physical force on him, he had just had a conversation, made an explanation and a detention report, left the office, and had never contact with Latushko again. He was never alone, there were other officers with them, and the door was open almost all the time. Such testimony was given by police officer Myasnitski on 23 February.

Latushko said during the investigation: "On January 31st around 1 a.m. I was detained near my home, taken to Central District Police Department, taken to the fourth floor to one of the offices, and then the officers started talking to me. The officer put a plastic bag on my head twice, while explaining that they wanted to get some information from me that I was not aware of. One of the officers took a truncheon in his hands and started threatening me with it…". [Judge Karsiuk omits part of the text]

"About blows of some kind, at least 50 times…", the judge continues.
"They talked about wanting to get information from me regarding some telegram channels. I did not understand what they wanted from me. I agreed to give the testimony I was told by the police. At the same time, I did not commit the above-mentioned crimes. Later, when I started to testify, the police officers did not use physical force against me either. Then I was taken to the police station, and the next day I worked with an investigator. Later no one used physical force against me. I would like to specify that the people who introduced themselves as police officers left the office before the application of physical force to me," Latushko said in his explanation.

He confirmed these facts in the court.

According to the medical documents of SIZO-1 (detention center) dated February 2, which were announced at the trial, Latushko had extensive hematomas of the gluteal region on both sides, rear, inner and outer thighs on both sides, which were formed from contact with a solid blunt object, the individual trace-forming features of which are not recorded in the documents.

"It is not possible to determine the age of the hematomas, the number of traumatic impacts," said in the document of the detention center.

A follow-up examination on 4 February recorded: the thigh is swollen, hyperemic. In the absence of relevant objective clinical and instrumental data, along with further dynamic observation, it is impossible to give a forensic medical assessment of the above diagnosis. As it later became known, an expert did not come to the pre-trial detention center, so they could not establish the age and severity of the injuries either.

Latushko explained at the trial that the bruises were caused by blows with truncheons by police officers.

The political prisoner applied for a criminal case against the officers who beat him, but a ruling was issued on 24 April to refuse the application. As evidence that the officers allegedly did not use physical force, the book of record of the use of physical force in Central District Police Department, which does not contain such data, was used. They also requested references to the officers, both of which were good.

The ruling not to institute criminal proceedings, dated 24 April, stated that there was no data indicating that the police officers had committed any criminal acts against Latushko. Anatol has not appealed against the ruling. The judge asked why, because "well, if you claimed there was such a thing…".

"Well, I sent a letter, all grounds were there for inspection, nothing happened, they just sent a refusal", Latushko replied, and then clarified that in his opinion it was pointless to appeal.

Original article on the website of the human rights center "Viasna"


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